The lies our hearts tell

When my nearly 13 year relationship crumbled as I got sober in 2009, my heart and my brain conspired to tell me a series of convincing but damaging lies. “You weren’t meant to be in love” they whispered. “No gay man in his right mind is going to want a sober, HIV positive partner” they told me. And of course my favorite lie was the one that played on repeat whenever I felt utterly alone, “You won’t ever know real love.” Naturally, it was all bullshit and thankfully I stopped believing it.

When I first crawled into the AA meetings in Santa Monica, I would see handsome, single, interesting, non-trainwreck gay men and think “Wow. They do exist.” This thought was usually followed by a head shake that would remind me that I was in no condition whatsoever to date anyone. Ever. Or for at least awhile. Besides, who would date me? The recently single, barely sober, life in shambles me was not exactly a candidate for The Bachelor or anything. My heart was smashed open so to protect itself, it told me little lies and truths to protect me. I was not open to the idea of love nor did I think I would ever have anything to offer anyone else. Nevertheless, little changes happened the longer I stayed sober and my life got bigger, so did my ideas about what I could or could not achieve. Soon my heart started saying things like “Maybe I could write professionally and not go back to waiting tables?”

At almost exactly a year sober that is what happened. I started writing copy for an agency. Other mind-boggling things started to happen too. Mainly, I began to like myself. I mean like really be okay with myself and by myself. I spent a summer meditating, writing and taking care of some chickens. I don’t know if the preceding sentence is a guaranteed recipe for successful self-love but it freaking worked for me. Maybe I’ll open a rehab with writing classes and chicken coops. Or not. The point is those lies were no longer being listened to or even transmitted. There was a new set of programming that repeatedly told me, day and night, that I deserve love. Moreover, that I already had love in my life. I might have been single but there was love coming from people everywhere and I was open and lucky to receive it. At one year, seven months and six days of continuous sobriety, I met the man I’m married to today. He wasn’t who I thought he would be meaning who I thought the guy I would marry would be. He was even better. He’s an artist, he’s hilarious, he’s brilliant and he isn’t nuts. And thank god. This family only has room for one crazy person and I fit the bill nicely.

So the deal is this: I am writing this to tell you the truth even if your heart won’t. You deserve love. You are already loved. Despite what you did or didn’t do while you drank or used drugs somebody loves you and somebody will love you like you never knew was possible. I know this all sounds corny but it’s Valentine’s Day so fucking indulge me. Love isn’t for just pretty people or rich people or sane people (clearly). Love is for people who know they are worthy of it and who give it away without condition and even a lying heart would agree with me on that one.

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13 thoughts on “The lies our hearts tell

  1. Sean, I absolutely loved this post! What a gorgeous gift to readers. So moving and true. I am coming to your show on Friday, by the way. Me and my valentine. I wasn’t gonna post a vday valentine but I did, spur of the moment, on an off day. Anyway, I so appreciated your comment on my blog the other day. I read your one about Whitney, and wanted to comment, but maybe because I came through email I couldn’t find how? Your post totally Rocked. Love ya bro. Heather

    • Hmm. Nt sure about the commenting thing. I’m tech challenged. Can’t wait to see you Friday! It’s spicy but ends up sweet or that was the intention anyway. Have a great Valentines day and thanks for spreading the blog love!

  2. This post resonates with me very deeply. I don’t want to go on and on about it, but the thoughts you mentioned are thoughts I have had and still do: the self-worth thoughts. This was a refreshing post to read, and I’m glad you have the courage to continually share these experiences. Like in the Police song “Message in a Bottle”, we find one day we’re not alone in going though it all.

    • Exactly, Fox. I need to remind myself all the time that yeah I do deserve to be happy, regardless of the hot mess mistakes I’ve made in the past. So I’m glad you got something out of it too. The honest exchange I’ve had with bloggers like yourself is the coolest thing about being on WordPress. PS- I love that Police song. One of my favs.

  3. Us POZ boys are loveable. Meeting my now husband 12 years ago was kismet. We passed through a doorway, he going out/me going in. You never know where love is going to come from or from whom. But I am glad you posted this and to know you have love in your life today. Isn’t it grand ???

    Jeremy

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